Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gator Bait(1974)

Hicksploitation isn't really my thing, but sometimes a trailer or poster catches your my eye and I have to do everything in my power to watch said film. Okay...using sometimes might be underplaying it a bit. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. If it wasn't for the catchy poster and DVD/VHS covers of my days trolling through the video stores, I probably ever would have rented half of the trashy garbage that has been burned onto my memory forever. I still do, although there are less trips to the video store and more time spent on social media. I just happen to use Facebook and the blogospere as my introduction to movies I should see. Gator Bait(1984) happened to be one of those movies I was inspired to see due to my time spent gawking at my Facebook wall. If I remember correctly, I might have Mike White(of Impossibly Funky fame) to thank for posting a picture of the poster art. This blog entry is for you, buddy.

Foxy swamp rat Desiree Thibodeau lives deep within the Louisiana Bayou, taking care of her younger sister and mute brother. Understand that the Thibodeau family are existing a couple of steps below the poverty line, as in minimal property ownership and no running water. I wouldn't be surprised if they had never seen a crisp dollar bill in all their life. So poor that Desiree spends her spare time poaching gator to feed her family. Keep in mind this film takes place during a time when hunting alligators had just recently been made illegal, so Desiree has no understanding of the crime that is being committed. For the most part the Local Authority doesn't really care, but it doesn't stop a couple of ignorant, young cops from harassing Desiree(mostly due to their rapey tendencies). After a wild goose chase via boats through the swamps, the young misogynists in uniform are able to catch up with our buck-skinned heroine, but things don't go as planned. Thankfully, Desiree's swampy cunning, and bag of poisonous snakes, are able to get of what could potentially be a deadly situation. Unfortunately, the sheriff's son isn't so good with the responsibility that comes from gun ownership, and instead of taking down his white-trash wonderwomen, he accidently damages his dad's boat and shoots his partner. Unable to take responsibility for his irresponsibility, Billy Boy heads back into town to let his dad, and the Bracken family, know but instead twisting the story around to place the blame on Desiree. These leads to the cops and Bracken's forming of a lynch mob, hellbent on the capture or death of our sweet, swampy princess. Desiree isn't found but her little sister and brother are. Though the original plan was supposed to be something of hostage situation, the younger men of the group can't get passed there rapey tendencies, which unfortunately leads to the violent death of Desiree's little sister. Thankfully her mute brother was able to escape. As with many of these cinematic sketches in souther culture, messin' with kin is the worst thing you can do. When Desiree learns of her sister's untimely demise, the sheriff and his posse better think again about who's bodies are actually going to be used for Gator Bait.

I actually felt that Gator Bait was more tame than I expected. Usually the exploitation movies of this era are chock full of nudity and violence to make up for the lack of a properly written storyline and poor dialogue. With Gator Bait the expected amount of nudity wasn't present, which is only a slight disappointment. The violence was there, but I think the most of the sexuality consisted of a couple boob shots and rape-like behavior. If you are interested in seeing a film that follows by the typical 70's exploitation standards, Gator Bait will possibly disappoint you. Even though the lead actress is a former playmate, she isn't playing an overly sexual character. With that being said, there were other elements to the film that I enjoyed like the filming location. I've lived in Florida before, and know for a fact that the swamp is no person's ideal location for a film shoot, especially for something so low budget. So not only did I feel for the production team, I also felt they did a really good job of capturing the beauty of the natural shooting location. I'm assuming that as expansive as they made they filming location appear, it was probably shot in a 10 acre area, because this is what usually happens. I was also a fan of the soundtrack, at least country music portion of it. I'm assuming the score was original, but I could be wrong due to my unfamiliarity. Shit happens.

If you aren't an exploitation snob, and don't my taking the 90 minutes out to watch a bad movie that's really fun, Gator Bait is good watch. It borders closer to the PG-13 side of exploitation, but it hardly ever get's boring.

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